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Commentary :: Environment
BTL:Government Officials, Pressured by Meat Industry...
02 Jan 2004
Modified: 05:22:00 AM
...Fail to Safeguard Public from Outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in U.S. Interview with John Stauber, author of "Mad Cow USA", conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Government Officials, Pressured by Meat Industry, Fail to Safeguard Public from Outbreak of Mad Cow Disease in U.S.

Interview with John Stauber, author of "Mad Cow USA", conducted by Scott Harris

When officials announced that they had found the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. on Dec. 23, critics of government regulations and testing procedures were not surprised. The discovery of the infected dairy cow in Washington state came seven months after another cow in Canada was found to have mad cow, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Although the U.S. and Canada had banned the use of beef bone and flesh in cattle feed linked to the transmission of the disease in 1997, enforcement of the regulations were found to be lax by the congressionally-funded General Accounting Office.

When an outbreak of mad cow exploded in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, the British government took drastic steps to stop the spread of the disease, including the destruction of 4.5 million cattle, a strict feed ban and comprehensive testing of cows destined for the slaughterhouse. Thus far, more than 130 cases of Kreutzfeldt-Jacob, the fatal brain disorder in humans sometimes linked to mad cow disease, have been diagnosed mostly in Britain.

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who in 1997 won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his identification of prions that cause mad cow disease, has criticized the Bush administration's secretary of agriculture Ann Veneman for not taking the steps necessary to prevent the spread of the disease. Between The Lines Scott Harris spoke with John Stauber, co-author of the 1997 book, "Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?" who reviews the many warnings about the disease ignored by government officials -- and the safeguards which could still be put in place to halt its spread.

Read "Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?" online by going to the Center for Media and Democracy's website at:

Related links:

"Expert Warned that Mad Cow Disease Was Imminent," by Sandra Blakeslee, New York Times, Dec. 25, 2003

"U.S. Estimates Mad-Cow Exposure at 81" by the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2003

"Slaughterhouse Politics: Ranchers Fought Rules That Might Have Prevented Mad Cow," by James Ridgeway,Village Voice, Dec. 30, 2003

"FDA Blasted Over Past Enforcement of Feed Ban," by Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dec. 27, 2003

"Mad Cow Out of the Barn,"Madison Capital Times editorial, Dec. 27, 2003

"US Mad Cow Link Questioned in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Cases," by Jed Seltzer and Elinor Mills Abreu, by Reuters, Dec. 27, 2003

"GOP Congress Scuttled Meat Protection Measure," by Mark Sherman, The Associated Press, Dec. 24, 2003

"Inspections for Mad Cow Lag Those Done Abroad," by Marian Burros and Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times, Dec. 24, 2003

"USDA Refused to Release Mad Cow Records," by Steve Mitchell, UPI, Dec. 24, 2003

"Don't Have a Mad Cow, Man" editorial by the Bennington Banner (Vt.); Dec. 27, 2003

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:

"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:

"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).

For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)

For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)

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©2004 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.

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